The Devil's Dream

Front Cover
Ballantine Books, 1993 - Fiction - 315 pages
In this multigenerational tale, the 1833 marriage of preacher Moses Bailey to fiery Kate Malone in Grassy Springs, Virginia sets up a paradox: he forbids her fiddle-playing as the Devil's laughter, and she cannot resist playing old tunes and mountain hymns to their children. What follows over the next 150 years are generations of Bailey kin who experience the same contrast in music, from the early recordings of the "hillbilly music" to the latter-day Nashville sound. Each generation experiences the pull between the divine and the earthy differently -- R.C., Durwood, Blackjack Johnny, Katie -- from finding superstardom away from Grassy Branch only to be torn apart in the larger world, to shooting one's husband for cheating, to the radical experiment of recording music in the old-time tradition.

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User Review  - shesinplainview - LibraryThing

This is one of Lee Smith's better books. I believe that the struggle between Appalachian religious beliefs and the love of popular music was accurately portrayed. The characters were interesting and believable. Read full review

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User Review  - Jim53 - LibraryThing

Smith uses a multi-generational approach to show us the uneasy relationship between popular traditional music and religion in the Appalachian area. Beginning in the 1830s with the marriage of a ... Read full review


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About the author (1993)

Lee Smith is a novelist, short story writer, and educator. She was born in 1944 in Grundy, Virginia. Smith attended Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia. In her senior year at Hollins, Smith entered a Book-of-the-Month Club contest, submitting a draft of a novel called The Last Day the Dog Bushes Bloomed. The book, one of 12 entries to receive a fellowship, was published in 1968. Smith wrote reviews for local papers and continued to write short stories. Her first collection of short stories, Cakewalk, was published in 1981. Smith taught at North Carolina State University. Her novel, Oral History, published in 1983, was a Book-of-the-Month Club featured selection. She has received two O. Henry Awards, the Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction, the North Carolina Award for Fiction, the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Award, and the Academy Award in Literature presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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